Football is BACK! Pro Football Hall of Fame Game 2019

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor Reporter AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

It wasn’t pretty. And the final two minutes may have been the biggest mess I have ever seen. (Three false starts? In a row? Are you kidding me????)

But – it was FOOTBALL!

At times, it wasn’t much fun for fans of the Atlanta Falcons or the Denver Broncos.  At times it was amazing.

If you’ve missed it as much as I have, then knowing that the season is finally here was enough to keep you excited throughout the game.

With a thrilling ending, the Broncos edged out the Falcons 14-10. Denver had an early 7-0 lead, which Atlanta matched to go into half-time tied up 7-7. The Falcons added a 3rd quarter field goal to take a 10-7 lead. That lasted up until the 2:00 warning.

Many fans were excited to see what Bronco quarterback Brett Rypien, nephew of Washington QB Mark Rypien, would be able to do. He threw a desperation 4th down pass into the end zone. It was deflected but somehow landed in the arms of rookie wide receiver Juwann Winfree. Taken in the 6th round, Winfree’s heads-up catch may be enough to justfiy the faith Broncos GM John Elway had when drafting him.

Other notable Broncos… in the QB department, 2nd round draft pick Drew Lock was “meh.” Nothing great. Nothing horrible. In other words, a rookie in his first NFL game. QB Kevin Hogan played three series, threw for a touchdown, and basically secured himself the backup job.

Running back Khalfani Muhammad did his best to make a name for himself and earn some more playing time. In his third NFL season, he was featured quite a bit, racking up 50 yards on seven attempts with a long run of 31 yards. This three yard up-the-middle run would score the first touchdown of the NFL season:

As for the Falcons, with QB Matt Ryan firmly cemented as the starter, veteran Matt Schaub is competing with second year guy Kurt Benkert for the backup job. Schaub looked just like he’s always looked…. but Benkert had quite a few really nice drives and moments.

At defensive end for the Falcons, John Cominsky, a fourth round draft pick out of Charleston, did a great job infiltrating the line and getting to the runners. One key play was the muffed punt which he recovered!

Last, but not least, aside from all the crazy penalties and sloppy play, we have our first sight of a new rule that has been activated for this season. Defensive Pass Interference is now a reviewable call. Either as a no-call or if called it can be reversed. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio may have spent part of the day in the Cleveland Clinic dealing with a kidney stone (ouch!) but that didn’t stop him from throwing the red flag on a DPI call.

The call was not overturned, but at least the new rule was applied correctly. Also, the review was handled pretty quickly and that was a relief. I am not alone in wanting reviews to ensure that the right calls are made, but I’m also not alone in wanting them to be handled in a quick, efficient matter. Done and done last night.

I hope you are as excited as I am that football is back!  Soon, all of these guys battling for roster spots will know where they stand and the “real” games will begin!

 

Talk football with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8

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